Thursday, June 23, 2016

MENA Golf Tour regular Leitmannstetter lies 

one shot off the pace in South Africa

PRETORIA, June 22 — MENA Golf Tour regular Aaron Leitmannstetter fired a sizzling six-under 66 to lie just one shot off the pace after the opening round of The Roar at Waterkloof Golf Club on Wednesday.

Starting from the 10th tee, Leitmannstetter of Germany flew off the gate in style, picking up four shots in his first five holes, but a double-bogey (on the par-3, 15th) prevented him from joining South Africa’s Riekus Nortje atop the leaderboard.

Nortje kept it clean, going bogey-free en route to a 65 as his compatriot Jason Viljoen occupied solo third on five-under, one clear of a four-man, which included Chile’s Antonio Costa, the winner of the recent Mountain Creek Open by Golf Citizen in Thailand.

Despite running up a double bogey, Leitmannstetter was quite pleased with his efforts. “Yeah, I’m very happy and I enjoyed it out there, I got off to a really good start, but unfortunately double-bogeyed the 15th which is not an easy par-three,” he said.

“After that I just tried to keep it going and it went well. I’m really glad because I holed some really important putts down the stretch,” said the German, who missed the cut at the Jo’burg City Masters last week.

“The greens are rolling magnificently. It’s very important to hit the ball nicely into those greens and place it well to have a good putt. It worked out well for me,” said Leitmannstetter, who rolled in eight birdies, including three on the back nine.

“I’m actually trying to keep it simple. I wanted to play well because it’s my last event here in your beautiful country. I didn’t take too much advantage out of my game yet, so I’m trying to play well and we’ll see what happens,” added Leitmannstetter.

Nortje, who racked up a second and ninth in the previous two events, said putting another flawless performance validated his recent form.

“I’ve been playing pretty solid and hitting the ball pretty well and it’s good to string together another bogey-free round,” explained Nortje.

A key part of Nortje’s success on day one was his greens in regulation play, and it’s a game plan he takes into the week having not played the course in over 10 years.

“It was actually quite funny because it’s the first time in about 10 years that I’ve played this golf course. It actually worked out quite well for me. I hit the ball in the right areas, I only missed two greens — both of them just off the green — so it was pretty good all-round,” said Nortje.

Elsewhere, South Africa’s Bryandrew Roelofsz, who won the South to East Challenge two weeks back, returned a three-under 69 to share eighth along with Siphiwe Siphayi and the English duo of Joe Heraty and Jeff Inglis as Lee Corfield, a four-time winner on the MENA Golf Tour, settled for a level-par 72.

Paul Doherty, the only Scot in the field, has a 72 and is T34 going into the second round.

The Roar, the third and final co-sanctioned event between the Big Easy Tour and the MENA Tour, provides players an opportunity to cash in on the R500,000 prize money, as well as valuable world ranking points.





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